When it comes to prayer, it seems that God is more like a respected friend than ruler or overlord. God is accessible and attentive. When we go to God in prayer, we arrive much the way we might arrive to a meeting with that friend - as we are at that moment. If anger is pressing on our mind, or despair is choking our voice - we would open our mouth and share it with that friend. We might hold it in all day, waiting for that trusted audience to hear us, to listen to us, to be worthy of the real us.
I have a friend, who is a religious leader in his community. He holds a prestigious position. He helps dozens of people with their faith journey each week. Yet, he had a time in his life, as a minister, when he was ready to take his own life. He found himself with a rope around his neck and his cell phone in his hand. He used the phone, not the rope. Why? Because at his moment of greatest need and danger, he called someone who would be with him, listen to him - hear him out. Sometimes - we need to be heard, raw emotions, broken hearts - warts and all.
Warts and all - my mother use to say that, "Kim, I love you as you are, warts and all."
Private prayer is about being with God in whatever state we are in - be it despair or elation. Here's a truth for you, and if you don't get anything else I say here - get this -God is big enough for you. We hear a lot of theology about how powerful God is - God is omnipotent. We hear a lot of theology about how God knows everything - God is omniscient. We don't hear about how capable God is, and God is capable. We need a new 'Omni' word: God is Omni-competent. No matter how messy, raw or difficult we may be when we come to God in prayer; God can handle it, and make something good out of it.